Sunday 16th April 2017, 20:00
The weather at Silverstone for the first race of the 2017 FIA WEC remained very similar to yesterday’s qualifying, dry but cold, but with the addition of some periods of light rain during the race.
The two CEFC Manor TRS RACING cars were starting from sixth and eighth on the LMP2 grid, with Jean-Eric Vergne driving #24 and Vitaly Petrov in #25.
The race started without drama but the P2 field was split into two distinct groups by a slow P1 car resulting in a close race for P5 involving both of the team’s cars. #24 ran as high as third at one stage before rain started falling around half distance, and both cars had minor off-track excursions.
When one of the leading Toyotas had a large impact with the safety barriers, a Full Course Yellow followed by a long Safety Car period, which further split the LMP2 field, ensued, effectively setting the pattern to the end of the race.
Both cars showed good pace during run to the finish but were unable to make up the gap to the cars in front. #24 finished sixth, with #25 seventh.
Graeme Lowdon, President and Sporting Director
“I think all the teams had challenges during the race. For us, some things worked in our favour but some things worked against us. The timing of the safety car for example was not ideal and this increased the gap to the cars in front and the #24 car got hit by another LMP2 car which caused some us delays. All that said, I’m happy that we managed a two car finish and the pace that we demonstrated showed that we are already improving and there is reason to be optimistic for the rest of the season.”
Jean-Eric Vergne, Driver Car 24
“I am really happy to have finished my first endurance race. My pace was good and towards the end of the race I was setting the quickest laps on tyres that were two stints old. The team has come together quite late compared to our competitors but we are now in a position to push and we should work towards a podium at Spa.”
Tor Graves, Driver Car 24
“I was quite happy with my pace in the first stint but for some reason I killed the tyres too quickly. We need to analyse the reason for that. I’m very happy that the car finished, and although we have some work to do it’s a good start to the season.”
Jonthan Hirschi, Driver Car 24
“Compared to the amount of time some of the other teams have been working, I would say it’s a good start for us. We just need to work hard to pick up a few tenths here and there to improve our pace and keep pushing.”
Vitaly Petrov, Driver Car 25
“It was not an easy weekend, it’s always difficult running a new car at a race weekend and we lost time on Friday with problems. But at least for Qualifying and the Race there were no problems with the car. We still need to work on setup and it's clear that we still need to unlock the car’s performance. If we have a good race weekend and work together then I think we will have a good result.”
Roberto Gonzalez, Driver Car 25
“Obviously it’s not the result we had been working for but for the first time out the team did a great job. Getting the car late put us back a bit but we kept working and got to the finish. I had a lot of fun in my stint, although the Full Course Yellow and Safety Car didn’t help my tyres – I got a lot of pick-up and I couldn’t see too well with the vibrations. I kept pushing though and was happy with my lap times. I’m sorry about the small mistake I made which probably cost us about 20 seconds. Both my team mates did a great job and I’m looking forward to a better result in Spa.”
Simon Trummer, Driver Car 25
“We’ve been a bit on the back foot all weekend after losing time in FP1 and FP2. Vitaly and Roberto did a great job in Qualifying, especially with Roberto not having driven here before. Vitaly got us off to a good start in the race and then in my stint we had a good fight in the midfield of LM P2. I lost car in the rain, but managed to catch up time afterwards. I was struggling with the front of the car most of the time, but the high speed balance was ok. We now have to work as a team to get up to the front from P7 but we definitely have the ability to improve for Spa if we work together.”